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Children To A Degree - Growing Up Under the Third Reich (Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Children to a Degree is extremely interesting, giving knowledge of Germany from an inside view in a young boy's point of view. It is well written and although it depicts hardship, it's never maudlin.
The oldest brother was in the German army, and killed in the war. My father and the middle brother were not old enough to be drafted and made it through the war physically unscathed.
In 1954 my father moved to Canada and then the US a couple years later where he met and married my mother and raised four children. As a child my siblings and I didn't really hear any stories of my fathers' life in Germany. A few references here and there, but nothing of any substance. It wasn't until my mother passed away in 2006 that he started opening up, but most of what he's talked about are were the more pleasant, or at least funny in retrospect, type of things.
This book opened a whole new set of eyes to my father for me. It gives meaning to many of the anomalies, oddities or attitudes I've often wondered about. While, certainly, not every boy's experience was the same as Karl, Peter or Harold's, and my father grew up in a large town or small city, not Berlin, the whole approach to life is portrayed so differently than anything I ever dreamed of or had previously read about. And yet I fully believe it because of my observation of my father.
The one thing I was surprised at, compared to other books I've read set during WWII, was the lack of hardship. Not that there was none, but it was not dominating, more of just a fact and almost sidelined at that. I wonder if it's because the author lived it and that's just the way it was; he knew nothing else. Ditto on violence and the devastation of bombing.
The dialog was interesting. What it reminded me of is when I'm in a foreign country having a conversation with someone who speaks English but not well. Kind of formal, deliberate and stilted.
This book makes me hungry for more. I have already purchased "Loyal to a degree" and I expect I will buy the remainder of the set as time goes on.
Only 191 pages, this is actually a prequel to Christian's previous books about the boys' struggles to stay alive as Germany begins to collapse around them and Russian moves in. This book was recommended by actor Brian Dietzen over a year ago. The book has taken a while to rise to the top of my TBR list, but I instantly realized why he found it engrossing. The author states that the people and events in the book are true, only the names have been changed. The latter books are designated fiction by many others, so I will leave it up to you if I have categorized this correctly.
The book is, as of this review date, free for the Kindle, so if you have an interest in this time period, take a chance. The writing is crisp, the characterization clean, and the nuances of that time are important during this particular Presidential election. 4 out of 5.
A couple of quotes that resonated, particularly in regards to our current election rhetoric:
"When you are unable to deliver, you start promising. [ ] You can promise anything you want, if you are not kept accountable to deliver."
"Hitler promises riches, employment, free medical care and prints money without any backing."